SO CLOSE YET SO FAR

Many would agree with me that the European transfer deadline day is one of the most interesting days in football as even the richest and most organized clubs scramble to make one signing or the other. Yesterday’s was no different; Interestingly, there seem to be a shout of joy from all camps as their various clubs gave them something to chew on by signing much needed players. In total, £1.510bn was spent with English clubs spending £630m, Italian and Spanish clubs spending £335m each, French clubs spending £315m and German clubs spending £230m.

On the day, many records were broken by clubs both at club levels and at a global level, but this is not the focal point of this piece. Due to one reason or the other, some players who were expected to jump ship failed to move, either due to personal interest or the inability of the clubs to reach an agreement. Here is a complete team comprising of players who were reported to be heading in one direction or the other, but failed to.

 

Julio Cesar

Following Inter Milan’s purchase of Samir Handanovic from Udinese last summer, the Brazilian knew that his 5-year stint at the club was up. At 32, he wasn’t ready to compete with someone 5 years younger than him. His performances at the FIFA Confederations Cup vindicated him as a top class goalkeeper despite relegated with QPR months earlier. What followed was a flurry of interest from Arsenal, Napoli, Fiorentina and even AC Milan. Surprisingly, the Brazil shot stopper is still between the sticks for the Harry Redknapp led side.

 

Leighton Baines

If you ask me, Baines is one of the best LB/WB in the world. He created the highest number of scoring chances in the English Premier League last season. His consistency overtime has earned him admiration from English champions, Manchester United. Beside United failing to reach an agreement for his transfer fee, he must have been skeptical of his playing chances since Patrice Evra is playing out of his skin at the moment. He stays put and doesn’t follow teammate Marouane Fellaini in pushing for a move to keep his world cup hopes alive.

 

Daniel Agger

Diligence they say, earns a common man a dinner with the king. In Daniel Agger’s case, he forfeited the king’s castle for a “bungalow”. According to Gerard Pique, only a few defenders can play for Barcelona. The Danish center back however overlooked the multiple advances from the Spanish champion to stay with Liverpool who have not played in the UEFA Champions League in four years. What a decision!

Thiago Silva

This was not the first time Barcelona would bid for Thiago Silva, yet, he turned them down in spite of his professed admiration for the Camp Nou outfit. On a lighter note to quote the ever hilarious Yomi Kazeem  “how can he leave the Parc de Princes when a Sheikh is offering him a bottomless pit of resources.” As a result, the PSG captain remains with the French side.

David Luiz

Just as his compatriot, Thiago Silva, he had a bid rejected from Barcelona for him. The versatile defender was already rumoured to be a victim of new manager Jose Mourinho’s no “nonsense style”. True to predictions, his last season’s heroics hasn’t earned him much cap. He was

however quiet as Chelsea slapped a £60m tag on him to fend off Barcelona. As expected, Barcelona turned their back.

Samir Khedira

Following the surprise move of fellow German international, Mesut Ozil to the red side of London. Khedira was opportuned to follow his former manager to the blue side of London, but both he and Real Madrid turned it down. Who leaves the Bernabeu for the Bridge? No one and certainly not Samir Khedira.

John Obi Mikel

Oh Mikel! Forgive me if I’m sentimental. The awaiting African footballer of the year has been a stalwart for Chelsea since his arrival at Stamford Bridge in 2006. For all the criticism of his conservative style of play, Mikel has managed to raise his head above water under eight different managers. The problem now is that Mourinho, who seems to know him in and out, wrestled him from the hands of Manchester United and even converted him to a defensive midfielder, now seems to have moved on. As a result, Frank Lampard, Ramires and new intake, Van Ginkel seem to be above him in the pecking order. For the umpteenth time, he was caught between fighting for his shirt and moving on. His decision means that the likes of Galatasaray, Napoli and the money bags, Monaco will have to wait for another transfer window.

 

 

Manuel Juan Mata

Who would have thought that Chelsea’s best player in his two seasons in England would be a bench warmer? Last season, he notched up 20 goals and 35 assists in 64 games. All these have been left in the forgotten file of statistics by Jose Mourinho as he has failed to start Mata in four games, including his exclusion in the UEFA super cup. Going into a world cup year, a move was bound to take place. One way or the other, PSG could not pull the deal through and the diminutive Spaniard will remain at Stamford Bridge.

Keisuke Honda

One challenge that bedeviled AC Milan last season was the absence of a playmaker. During the summer, all eyes were soon directed at the Japan international especially after his fine display at the Confederations Cup in Brazil. Milan in their usual way, tried to take advantage of his contract (which runs out in December 2013) to get him on a cheap from CSKA Moscow. They failed to shift ground on their €4m offer which is €1m shy of the Russian side’s demand. After the UCL group stage draw, CSKA outrightly refused to accept a bid of any magnitude as they resigned to losing him for free in December.

Ander Herrera

In spite of being the second richest club in the world, Manchester United has a philosophy of spending prudently. Their record signing is £30.5m for Dimitar Berbatov, but for a club that lacks a creative spark in midfield, one would have thought that they should have parted with €36m for Athletico Bilbao’s Herrera. Although some quarters reported that the lawyers mal-handled the transfer, the reality now is that the Spain U-21 could not make it to Old Trafford.

Luis Suarez

Since his arrival from Ajax in January 2011, it is rather disappointing that the Uruguan has not played in the UEFA Champions’ league. Just when he thought enough was enough, Liverpool would have none of it. The controversial forward practically signaled a “come and get me” plea at the beginning of the transfer window. Surprisingly, only Arsenal came for his services. Liverpool however dug their heels thanks to his complicated release clause. Like it or not, Suarez will play at least one more season for the Merseyside and hopefully, get his wish of playing in the main stream European competition.

To cap it off, we have a coach

Massimiliano Allegri

Only on a few occasion has AC Milan owner, Silvio Berlusconi set his mind on a decision and failed to take it. Allegri remaining at the red side of San Siro is one of such exceptions. The former Italy prime minister has often fumed at his “tactical incompetence.” Co-incidentally, Roma were ready to reward the former Cagliari Manager for his revival of Milan with a more lucrative deal. With vice president, Adriano Galliani stating that almost any transfer is possible and this includes Massimiliano Allegri staying put at Milan.

 

Who else do you think should make this team or the bench?

 

Written by Larry Eghosa

Follow @larryeghosa

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Adeyemi Adesanya
Sports Business Consultant and Football Intermediary; Risk Management & Due Diligence Consultant; Freelance Football writer & Pundit on Radio & TV and Man.Utd Fan
http://www.halftimeng.com

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